Social psychology is the study of how people perceive and influence one another. The main focus of social psychology is determining individual responses to social stimuli, the study of groups that includes societal variables, socioeconomic status, social roles, and the perception of cultural norms.
From an organizational perspective it is imperative to understand the social dynamics of an organization. The Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) (2012) indicates that successful group and team processes requires an understanding of social psychology, organizational psychology, sociology, and organizational behavior. A strong background in social psychology consists of knowledge of experimental research, motivation, individual influence, group dynamics, conformity, obedience, conflict, role identification, and group decision making. These processes are theories and methods established by the founding fathers of social psychology.
William Wundt established the first laboratory dedicated to the science. Gustave Le Bon produced evidence of a crowd or mob mentality. Allport introduced us to the theories and methods of experimental psychology, Triplett gave us social facilitation that revealed the presence of others arouses individual motivation enhancing one performance. Milgram researched obedience and conformity that suggested when one is unsure one will adjust to the group mentality. Concurring with Milgram’s findings, Solomon Asch concluded that when unsure, people will succumb to the group mentality and will conform to the group opinion even when it is clearly incorrect.
Lewin’s action researched revolutionized organizational psychology. Lewin describes action research as a way to delve into existing problems to identify any additional issues and concerns regarding the systems and the individuals involved in the change process. Action research is key component in today’s organizational psychology methodologies.
These historical leaders of social psychology exposed today’s organizational psychologists to behavioral science techniques that are still applied in today’s organizational settings. Social psychology is the study of individuals in social settings, organizational psychology is the study of individuals in a business setting. Both are relevant as the focus is the interaction within the environment. Like social behavior, organizational behavior also refers to the way that individuals behave in group settings. These social psychological theories attempt to identify why people behave as they do, personally and professionally. The correlation between social and organizational psychology provides insight as to why individual personalities change within organizational settings. Understanding the social environment or organizational culture can assist in identifying different relationships within organizations which can help determine positive and negative factors in the workforce.
“The social psychology of this century reveals a major lesson: often it is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act.” –Stanley Milgram, 1974
Veronica Emilia Nuzzolo, MBA, MAOP
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How to cite this article:
Nuzzolo, V. E., (2016). Social Perspectives of Organizational Behavior. Retrieved from, https://risetoshinetoday.org/social-perspectives-in-organizational-behavior/